By Mircea “Mitch” Negres, South Africa
They got to Bloemfontein at around 6:30 in the morning and found Mike Johnson’s farm on the outskirts easily enough. His friend was surprised to see him, but not too much, given what going on. They went in, he and Mike to the kitchen, the women to the lounge, and he told his friend what had happened. “Mike, they could have my car, licence plate, name and picture by now. I need to change these as quickly as possible”, says Jan. Mike thinks about it and says “I’ve got no workers on the farm because I only hire in season. There’s an old guy who’s got a licence plate printing business in town. He owes me a few favors, so I’ll just get him to make me a couple of plates and fudge all the paperwork bullshit. There’s a paint spray gun and compressor in the barn, they’re in working order, so I’ll get you some black paint and we can change your car color. At the same time, we can use my computer to make another copy of the roadworthy certificate disc that’ll match the new plates. You and the family stay here, I’ll take care of this.” Jan says “Is it still here”? “Oh, you mean the stuff?” asks Mike. “Yeah, it’s here. Buried it after we brought it in and haven’t opened it since. We’ll sort that out later. Meanwhile, you guys try to relax and maybe get some sleep.” The women were in strung out shape. Luckily Mike’s wife was an ex-army nurse and had built up a pretty decent supply of government-issue pills over the years, so a sleeping tablet and a couple of shots of brandy knocked Jan’s wife and daughters out of the ballpark. It was easier for Jan. He’d been through worse and had ridden this particular bicycle before, so he joined his wife on the guest bed and quickly fell asleep. When they woke up after lunch time, Jan found his friend had been to town and took care of things as promised.
In short order, the licence plates were changed and after unloading the car, the guys went to the barn, where they did a passable job of spraying the car black. They scanned a copy of the roadworthy disc and changed the registration number, then printed and cut it to size, after which it was fixed to the windshield. It wouldn’t stand close scrutiny, especially when combined with a VIN query, but it would do for a cursory search. It turned out civilians’ cell phones were out, and so was the satellite TV. However, the SABC worked and they would run news updates every three hours which showed footage from a few arrests of whites around the country, ostensibly for supporting the coup. The radio stations played music, but the commentary seemed to be increasingly anti-white. This wasn’t looking good, so they went to a spot behind the barn and began to dig. After a while, they hit metal and began to pull out rusted boxes and packages wrapped in plastic. “It” was a cache of AK-47s with spare clips and ammunition they’d found during an operation in Namibia, which they managed to smuggle out back in 1989. The ammo was long expired, though the plastic-wrapped AKs and magazines were in good nick. It could’ve been worse. Mike had a 7.62 mm civilian version of a military rifle. He’d bought a pile of shells, primer, percussion caps and bullets and was a reload enthusiast. Looking in on the ladies once in a while, they took turns cranking out ammo while waiting for the other guys to arrive.
By the early evening, Jeffrey Kramer and David van Vuuren showed up with their families. It was a tight fit, but they got settled in. The news wasn’t good. Jeffrey came from Cape Town and he spoke about seeing a few arrests of whites. Dave had driven in from Durban, and he had similar stories to tell. What raised their alarm level higher were reports of groups of black people roaming white neighborhoods and in some cases demonstrating in front of houses whose occupants had been arrested, chanting that they’d been living in shacks and the government should give them the houses of “white criminals”. The black cops and soldiers were not dispersing the demonstrators, who thus far hadn’t done more than shout slogans. Nevertheless, given the way things appeared to be moving it wasn’t a great effort to figure out what the next step would be, so they talked about it. Things had been going downhill for years. The whites were increasingly blamed for everything that went wrong in the country. There weren’t enough cops and soldiers to handle security if things got out of control, and they couldn’t be relied upon to be everywhere. There had been no sign of white cops or soldiers on the streets, so that was another thing to consider in a race-obsessed country like South Africa. If it became a civil unrest situation, government forces had insufficient manpower to tackle it nationally and the government was likely to let the whites get slaughtered in order to ingratiate itself with the demonstrators. If on the other hand the government was behind this, then the whites were doomed even faster and more thoroughly. The options came down to two- stay and fight, or flee and live. To be continued…